Activism + Advocacy

As an as an ecologist, a Black person, a queer person, someone who has friends across the globe, I cannot let my engagement with the environment end with measuring trees and running R-code. To address the climate crisis, sure we need technological innovations (e.g. solar battery storage) and a better understanding of ecosystem change and carbon storage, but more fundamentally we need a shift in how our society values labor, resources, and people. We cannot address the climate crisis in a just and equitable way without massive government action and a radical reimagining of how we treat and relate to one another. We cannot stop the climate crisis by becoming vegetarian and biking around more; we need to hold fossil fuel companies accountable, value low-carbon work (like care work: e.g. nursing, childcare), and finally reckon with the anti-Black racism and settler colonialism that allows us to justify building pipelines and other environmental hazards in predominantly Black, Native, and other communities of color (including in other countries).

There are so many ways to engage with these issues, and I do not pretend to know the “right” way to do so. Right now, I work to address inequities within Duke University as a part of the Duke Graduate Students Union.

I am also currently working on a few academic projects to interrogate the values and histories that are part of ecological research. One project is a working group through the Duke Franklin Humanities Institute that aims to highlight the ways that the ecological and environmental research in the Duke Forest is made possible through histories of ownership, exploitation, and control.

Also, because a few folks have asked, here are also some of the books that have informed my thinking on science, organizing, and how to create change:

  • Freedom is a Constant Struggle – Angela Davis
  • Sister Outsider – Audre Lorde
  • Ghost Stories for Darwin – Banu Subramaniam
  • Hope in the Dark – Rebecca Solnit
  • When Species Meet – Donna Haraway
  • Emergent Strategy – adrienne maree brown
  • Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet – Anna Tsing
  • The Great Derangement – Amitav Ghosh
  • Objectivity – Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison
  • Unapologetic – Charlene Carruthers
  • Program Earth – Jennifer Gabrys
  • Earth Beings – Marisol De la Cadena
  • Placing Outer Space – Lisa Messeri